Regular readers of my blog will know that a couple of years ago I was working with a fantastic organisation in Stevenage called the Young Carers Crew (YCC).
The charity works with young carers, offering days out, fun activities and general get togethers as a chance to escape and hang out with one another.
I was working on a book with a young carer as the central character and went to meet some of the young people to hear their stories. It was totally inspiring.
Unfortunately that book never made it BUT I did write a story called Alex in the Middle for Fiction Express where I used a lot of what I had learned from YCC. Although not a published book, Fiction Express were fantastic and agreed to print several copies for me to give as Christmas presents.
Last night I made a surprise visit to the YCC's Christmas Get Together in Stevenage to read from Alex in the Middle and present the books.
It was magical!
When I do school visits I'm always dispelling the myth that children's authors are wealthy. The vast majority of us do all kinds of other things to boost our income. One of the amazing things I get to do is work freelance for the Writers & Artists events team. Most writers and illustrators will know all about the W&A Yearbook - the handbook for creatives no matter what stage of their journey they're at - but not everyone is aware that there are a whole series of other services and events on offer. One of these was an exclusive mini-conference held in the Bloomsbury Offices, called Finding the Heart of Your Story. I got to be the host. It was AMAZING!
As I was busy being impressed by our authors - Emma Norry and Robert Tregoning - eating Bloomsbury cupcakes, chatting to everyone and learning all I can from Alex Antscherl (Senior Commissioning Editor in Children's Fiction at Bloomsbury), I took zero photos.
However, a did pinch a few, featured here, and I'm also throwing in some beautiful London Christmas ones for you to enjoy for good measure.
I strongly suggest that you find out all the amazing things that Writers & Artists are doing and watch this space for details of the upcoming festival in March 2024 which I will be going ON and ON about because it is so incredible!
Find out about the W&A Festival 2024 here: www.writersandartists.co.uk/events-and-courses/childrens-writers-illustrators-festival-2024-weekend-pass
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